2018 ESPYs Feature Prominent Little League® Alumni and Storylines

Last month, the world fell in love with the moment of friendship Ty Koehn shared with his former Little League® teammate, Jack Kocon. Both played for Shoreview Area Youth Baseball (Minn.) Little League growing up and played together until reaching high school. On that day, Mr. Koehn, a pitcher for Mounds View High School, ended Mr. Kocon’s senior season when he struck out the Totino-Grace High School batter to win the game. The moment that followed, however, got everyone’s attention as the winning pitcher walked past his dogpiling teammates to hug his best friend.

Sportsmanship is alive and well. At a Minnesota sectional HS playoff game last week — the winning pitcher had to strikeout one of his friends to advance to the state tournament. Rather than celebrating – his immediate urge was to console his buddy. So cool. (Video courtesy of Jim Moberg)

Posted by Mark Armstrong WTVD on Monday, June 11, 2018

“I knew I had to win the game first for my team. But after the pitch, after it was all said and done, it was kind of instinct to go over there and be there for a friend when he was at his worst,” Mr. Koehn explained on Good Morning America before the two received Honorary ESPY’s.

The moment, reminiscent of one that occurred in last year’s Little League Baseball World Series, was just one of many featuring Little League graduates that was honored at the ESPY’s.

NFL Hall of Fame member and Little League alum Jim Kelly was honored with the Jimmy V. Award for Perservence in a presentation that brought fellow Hall of Famers and Little Leaguers® John Elway and Dan Marino to the stage to join their friend. Mr. Kelly brought the audience to tears with his emotional speech urging people to, “make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow.”

The Houston Astros won the ESPY for Best Team with their Little League graduate laden roster of World Series Champions: Carlos Beltran (Jose Maria Rodriguez (P.R.) Little League), Alex Bregman (Eastdale (N.M.) Little League), Carlos Correa (Villa Blanca (P.R.) Little League), Brian McCann (League Six (W.V.) Little League), Lance McCullers (Citrus Park (Fla.) Little League), Charlie Morton (Trumbull (Conn.) Little League), George Springer (Walicki (Conn.) Little League), and Justin Verlander (Tuckahoe (Va.) Little League). The team was also led by Little League graduate and Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan (Alvin American (Texas) Little League), son of legendary Astros pitcher and Little League Hall of Excellence member Nolan Ryan (Alvin American (Texas) Little League).

West Hills (Texas) Little League graduate, Nick Foles, was recognized for his Championship Performance as back-up quarterback turned MVP in Superbowl LI, reminding everyone in his acceptance speech that “There’s going to be people who doubt you. Don’t Listen to them…Go out there every day and be bold.” Fellow quarterback Tom Brady, a San Mateo (Calif.) Little League graduate who faced Mr. Foles in Super Bowl LI, was named NFL Player of the year.

Meaghan Duggan, an alumnus out of Danvers, Mass., led Team USA’s Women’s Ice Hockey Team in their Gold Medal Game against rival Canada. The game, which captured Gold for the USA for the first time in 20 years and featured both overtime and a shootout, earned the ESPY for Game of the Year.

The Utah Jazz’s rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell, who grew up playing for Elmsford (N.Y.) Little League, took home the ESPY for Breakthrough Athlete. Jockey Jose Luis Ortiz, who played Little League for La Gloria Little League in Puerto Rico, was named Jockey of the Year after winning 13 major Horseracing events in 2017, highlighted by a win at the Belmont Stakes on Tapwrit. Gatorade Athlete of the Year and former Stony Point (N.Y.) Little Leaguer Katelyn Tuohy was also recognized for her accomplishments on the Cross Country and Track and Field tracks as well as in the classroom and community.

READ MORE: Gatorade Players of the Year Story

NOTE: If you know of a player that we have missed, please e-mail the information, including name, current Major League team and the name of the city or town where they played Little League, to [email protected].